It seemed like Marc-Edouard Vlasic was going to be quite the surprise hero on Thursday. Instead, he was one of many San Jose Sharks players left stunned by a late Game 2 surge as the Los Angeles Kings rode a 5-on-3 power play to a 4-3 win and 2-0 series lead.
That’s try to make sense of the madness.
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- Ignoring how you feel about the puck over the glass rule for a moment and taking it at face value: did Vlasic deserve a delay of game penalty there or did the puck hit Jeff Carter’s arm? Sharks fans might treat that moment like the Zapruder film in the next couple days.
- Should Kings fans be concerned that Anze Kopitar is injured despite coming back from a puck to the head? Sometimes these issues end up being a bigger problem than they appear at first.
- Can the Sharks recover from this punch to the gut? It’s a pretty brutal way to lose, and now they find themselves down 2-0 in this series.
- The Kings power play scored three of their four goals on six opportunities. Are the defending champions the NHL’s top contender if that special teams unit can be an asset?
- The shot totals were identical at 31 tonight. How close is this series despite the 2-0 score? Does San Jose deserve a better fate?
- Jonathan Quick has obviously been fantastic. How do you feel about Antti Niemi’s performance so far?
- Assuming the Kings advance, which remaining team presents Los Angeles the biggest challenge?
The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.
You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:
If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.
The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?